Saturday, December 27, 2008

The whole story

It has been one week since my accident and many people have been asking me exactly what happened. With the stress of insurance companies, repairs and the holidays I haven't had time to really go over it.

On December 20th we had pretty typical Ohio weather. It was rainy and snowy and would go back and forth between the two. Once the sun went down though, things got icy. The thing about Ohio that I could never understand is that every winter we have ice and snow. Every winter all Ohioans forget how to drive in the snow. I just don't get it.

I left work at 10:30 pm, shuffled carefully to my car on the ice, and scraped the sheet of ice off my car. I tested my anti-lock breaks on the empty parking lot for fun before I left since I never had anti-lock breaks before. I got onto I-270 (4 lane highway) and began my trek home. I knew things were bad, but the highway seemed fine. I was cautious but not overly so. That is until I saw all the accidents on the sides of the road and the overpasses. Apparently the sign "Bridge may ice before road" is to be ignored.

I called my workplace because I knew most folks weren't leaving until midnight, and I warned them of the bad roads. I got off onto I-71 and again didn't think the roads were all that bad. A huge accident right before my exit had the whole highway shut down, so I quickly took the exit before mine and survived a steep and slick off ramp. I even survived driving down a back road to get to the road I live off of, called Morse Road.

Morse is a heavily traveled (2 lane) road, 35 mph, and feels like the last road to ever get iced. People fly down the road in normal conditions going 50+mph. I was doing my 30-35 mph crawl and was about a block and a half from my apartment. I don't know if I heard the guy hit the person in front of him, or if I heard his tires squeal, but all of a sudden I see this white Monte Carlo come flying at me from across the center line. All I could do was grip the steering wheel and scream "NO NO NO NO!!" He slammed right into the driver's side of my car. The impact made his car go flying behind me and it came to a stop sideways in the road.

People came out of their houses to see what happened and I called 911. The driver who was traveling behind me had to drive up on the sidewalk next to me to avoid hitting me from behind. Bless her quick thinking! After being on hold with 911 for 1-2 minutes I got through and advised them of the accident. I can't hate on 911 as things were so bad that night. The man who hit me was pretty unresponsive and I was worried for him. I tried to get out of my car but could not because my door was jammed due to the damage.

People were getting into accidents trying to avoid ours. They would see our wreak, slam on their breaks and go sliding into someone. They would go flying down the middle of the road, right between our broken cars and lose control. While waiting 30+ minutes for Fire and Ambulance to arrive we saw a total of 10 accidents (mostly minor fender benders) in a stretch of road 2 blocks long. At one point I realized I could possibly be hit again since people were driving so irresponsibly. I had to climb over my center console to get out of my car. Not a easy task for a big girl! Bystanders helped the man who hit me out of his car also. His car had been hit two more times after he hit mine, and they removed him for his own safety laid him on the ground. If he didn't get hypothermia from laying on the freezing ground for so long then I would be amazed! He never was very responsive and folks who came out of their homes to help got him blankets and a tarp to try and keep him warm. He was later taken to the hospital by ambulance.

I called some very good friends, crying because this was my first real accident. I had gotten into another accident years ago, but it didn't involve damage or any other cars. The police officer deemed my car drivable to my apartment (since it as so close) but nowhere else. After a few hours I was finally able to go home.

I had to stew over things all day Sunday because nothing is open on Sunday's and I could get nothing accomplished. I woke up early Monday morning to begin calling insurance agents and all. Wouldn't you know it, Verizon Wireless' service was down! All day! All I have is a cell phone. I had to frantically post a bulletin on Myspace begging someone to email me and help. The same friend that hung out in the cold with me came over and I was able to use her cell phone all day. I ended up having to buy a prepaid cell phone because I didn't know when "The Most Reliable Network" would be up and running.

Luckily my insurance policy covers a rental, so I was able to finally get into a rental car. I was about 2 hours late to work on Monday -- but I got there. I have been blessed with very kind and understanding people through this experience. I called the Kia dealership and they came to tow my car to the body shop and my insurance said I was allowed to use their shop and would pay the tow fee. With the holiday things were delayed, so I just found out yesterday that the insurance adjuster looked at my car and deemed it $4,000.00 worth of damage! I will be without my Kia for about 2 weeks, which is actually better (quicker) than I thought. I don't know if the guy who hit me was drunk or not as I have not been able to see the police report yet. I also don't know if he had insurance as the cops were unable to find insurance information in his wallet. I am sure I will know more soon.

I am just happy that I was not hurt other than some seat belt pain. I really believe that if I was in my Neon not only would by airbag(s) have deployed, but I would have been seriously hurt too. Although I would have preferred to not have a major accident in my brand new car, I am sort of lucky I did. For all the stress I have been through (I don't do stress very well in case you never noticed) I really have been able to put things into perspective. It may not have been a big deal to most people, but it was a big deal/accident to me. I am forever haunted by the fact that during that night, with all the accidents, a teenage boy was killed. I am so very blessed to not be another statistic.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Merry Fucking Christmas

At least I wasn't hurt and it wasn't my fault.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Sesame Street - ABCDEF...Cookie Monster!

So freaking cute, you will pass out from Cute Overload. Super smile of the day!!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Dean Martin - Baby, It's Cold Outside

Trying my best to get in the mood. Simply my favorite holiday song!

Monday, December 08, 2008

Long time, I know.

I know it has been forever since I have posted, and I apologize for that. My life has kind of been like Groundhog's Day. I feel like I just do the same thing every day, over and over. I can't say I am miserable with it though. Consequently, I don't have anything very exciting going on. Plus I swear to God it was just Thanksgiving like yesterday. Now Christmas is almost here!! Time files when your life is boring.

I will say that I have found something to do at my job that I actually enjoy! When we have new folks hired at my employer, they have 6 weeks of training. I got to be a classroom assistant for the last class we had before the new year! This means that I got to assist them while they take their calls, teach them how to do certain aspects of the job, and basically be a mentor to new folks who may be intimidated with what they are getting themselves into. I also got the opportunity to walk the call floor and answer questions when people raise their hand (or a flag. Yep, we have flags) for assistance during a call.

Not only do I really love what I am doing, but I think I am good at it too! I had always flirted with the idea of being a teacher and now I think that teaching may be the key to my career dilemma that I have been looking for all along. I plan on looking for teaching opportunities not only with my current employer but outside of it as well. Maybe go back to school. I may even look into teaching abroad options.

I means the world to me when someone says to me "I really like when you help me because you are so calm and patient." My only concern has been that I don't ever feel like I am a leader, that I am always a follower. I didn't ever feel like I conveyed the leader image to others either. However, this Saturday I was on my own with the classroom and not only did I do fine when things got a little overwhelming, but I dealt with someone who had an emotional breakdown, disciplined someone who was having a temper tantrum* and even found the time to smooth things over with someone whom I had a rocky start with. All in all, it was an exhausting success.

I currently have the opportunity to work with folks who have gone into something my employer calls "The Academy." This is where people are pulled off the call floor and into a classroom setting and environment. These are people who are having trouble keeping their calls under the 5 minute average, having challenges keeping their documentation of their calls under 2 seconds, and basic knowledge of the job. With The Academy, I not only have the chance to work as an assistant, but I get to be even more interactive. I will be able to sit with people and monitor their calls and coach them afterwords on ways to be more effective.

I feel like I have the calm demeanor to do the job along with a sense of humor about the whole thing. I have a way of befriending people and not talking down to them. I thank my father for the ability to not get impatient with people learning -- he has always been a great teacher. I hear his voice every time I tell someone to not worry if they have the caller on hold for 2-3 minutes while I teach them how to do something. The customer will either wait or hang up and call back. No big deal. Everyone has to learn something new sometime, everyone was new at their job at one time.

I don't quite know how or why I come across as a soft spoken and relaxed person (I think this would shock most people who know me). However, I do and I think that is definitely what most people need when learning and I take it as a blessing. Don't get me wrong, there are days where I am about to snap, but I keep my cool. I am willing to take the advice of my superiors and am taking this chance to really go somewhere with the company and improve myself. I worry about the leader/authoritative side of myself that teachers need, However I need to remember Saturday. I was also able to be authoritative with the person who was having a tantrum* without being nasty or making it personal. I even had someone comment that because of the fact I raised my voice, she knew I meant business with this person. Maybe being a leader doesn't always mean being the big guy up front, with arms crossed, a scowl on my face, while shouting orders. Lothian is learning.

I am still dealing with many health issues, personal issues, major money issues, etc but I am pretty darn happy with what I am doing at work right now. I don't dread going in anymore, and I may have found my calling in life. We will see. I am sorry if this post was a little frazzled and not as focused as they usually are. My brain has not had to work this hard for awhile and my thoughts are like the snowflakes blowing around outside. Hopefully I will post more as things calm down, but I can't promise anything. Thanks for hanging in there with me!

*As an afterthought I wanted to add that these are still my co-workers. Some of them are my age, slightly younger or slightly older. My use of the word "tantrum" was to not imply that I was teaching children, but rather to illustrate how childish this particular co-worker's complaint was and how she handled herself. Teaching children who act like children may be a hell of a lot easier that teaching adults who act like children.**